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      Sticky collisions of ultracold RbCs molecules

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          Abstract

          Understanding and controlling collisions is crucial to the burgeoning field of ultracold molecules. All experiments so far have observed fast loss of molecules from the trap. However, the dominant mechanism for collisional loss is not well understood when there are no allowed 2-body loss processes. Here we experimentally investigate collisional losses of nonreactive ultracold 87Rb 133Cs molecules, and compare our findings with the sticky collision hypothesis that pairs of molecules form long-lived collision complexes. We demonstrate that loss of molecules occupying their rotational and hyperfine ground state is best described by second-order rate equations, consistent with the expectation for complex-mediated collisions, but that the rate is lower than the limit of universal loss. The loss is insensitive to magnetic field but increases for excited rotational states. We demonstrate that dipolar effects lead to significantly faster loss for an incoherent mixture of rotational states.

          Abstract

          Ultracold polar molecules are an excellent platform for quantum science but experiments so far see fast trap losses that are poorly understood. Here the authors investigate collisional losses of nonreactive RbCs, and show they are consistent with the sticky collision hypothesis, but are slower than the universal rate.

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          Most cited references 53

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          A High Phase-Space-Density Gas of Polar Molecules

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            Threshold and resonance phenomena in ultracold ground-state collisions

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              Cold controlled chemistry.

               R. V. Krems (2008)
              Collisions of molecules in a thermal gas are difficult to control. Thermal motion randomizes molecular encounters and diminishes the effects of external radiation or static electromagnetic fields on intermolecular interactions. The effects of the thermal motion can be reduced by cooling molecular gases to low temperatures. At temperatures near or below 1 K, the collision energy of molecules becomes less significant than perturbations due to external fields. At the same time, inelastic scattering and chemical reactions may be very efficient in low-temperature molecular gases. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that collisions of molecules at temperatures below 1 K can be manipulated by external electromagnetic fields and to discuss possible applications of cold controlled chemistry. The discussion focuses on molecular interactions at cold (0.001-2 K) and ultracold (<0.001 K) temperatures and is based on both recent theoretical and experimental work. The article concludes with a summary of current challenges for theory and experiment in the research of cold molecules and cold chemistry.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                j.m.hutson@durham.ac.uk
                s.l.cornish@durham.ac.uk
                Journal
                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2041-1723
                15 July 2019
                15 July 2019
                2019
                : 10
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0000 8700 0572, GRID grid.8250.f, Joint Quantum Centre (JQC), Durham—Newcastle, Department of Physics, , Durham University, ; Durham, DH1 3LE UK
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0000 8700 0572, GRID grid.8250.f, Joint Quantum Centre (JQC), Durham—Newcastle, Department of Chemistry, , Durham University, ; Durham, DH1 3LE UK
                Article
                11033
                10.1038/s41467-019-11033-y
                6629645
                31308368
                © The Author(s) 2019

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef https://doi.org/10.13039/501100000266, RCUK | Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
                Award ID: EP/H003363/1
                Award ID: EP/I012044/1
                Award ID: EP/P008275/1
                Award ID: EP/P01058X/1
                Award Recipient :
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                © The Author(s) 2019

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